I’ve been living alone for a while.
I moved into a rented house a few years ago, and I’ve been making my home here as myself and a single person.
And I have to say, it’s been difficult.
Moving into a new place with no previous experience of roommates can be challenging. Especially when you’re a single person who wants to share a space with other single people.
Especially when you’re scared of what the other people will think.
And even more especially when you’re scared of what your significant other will think.
One of the roommates, who I’ll call Alex, seems to be a good guy. He’s friendly, and we got along well during our time at the shelter.
But during the last few months, he’s become increasingly aggressive toward me. He refuses to hang out in our shared room when I’m trying to sleep. He makes me feel bad about my body (every morning when I tuck me into bed) and makes me feel guilty about the things I have to do with him (once I finally leave him).
And in between the constant arguments, I’ve started to feel a lot of things — a little depressed, a little anxious, a little afraid.
And while I don’t want to be, I am. I’m also well aware that I’m not alone. Other people are dealing with things, too.
And while I’m not sure that there’s a solution — and perhaps this is the last thing I’ll ever understand — I do want to share a few things that have helped me cope.
Be honest about what you want
I’ll be honest. I am an artist. That means a lot of things to me. But what it also means is that I need to be honest with myself about what I want.
And when I’m honest with myself, I’m much more comfortable expressing what I need and what I want from life and my relationships.
When I was living alone, I started to realize that my biggest struggle was to find things that I actually wanted to do. Like hanging out with friends, writing, hiking, etc.
I’m not poor because I can’t afford to buy candy. In fact, I bought a lot of it. But it’s not a necessity for life.
When you’re living with someone, you’ll inevitably try to fulfill what they want by behaving in certain ways. And if you don’t do it consistently, you’ll eventually get fed up. And that can be a big thing for you.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to change what you want — that what you want is what everybody wants, and what you want is different.
Most of the time, what I wanted was just the same as being with Alex. (If I had any self-respect, I would admit this.) But because I didn’t feel comfortable being honest, I started to fulfill my need to be with him in certain ways.
And those ways were different from what I was used to seeing him perform. And because I did this in a variety of ways, I finally realized that being alone doesn’t have to mean feeling empty.
Express your needs
This might seem silly, but it works.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like I’m the only one trying to be a part of something. That I’m the one who does all the chores, cooks the meals, does the laundry, and does the dishes.
But when you’re living alone, you don’t have to do that anymore. You don’t have to do anything that you’re not good at. You don’t have to do the dishes right now.
Instead, you can express your needs in a variety of ways.
I like to boil water. I like cooking. I like cleaning. I like shopping. I like snuggling up on the couch and watching TV.
This is a way to keep myself busy when I’m by myself. Because when I’m not busy doing something, I am not satisfied.
And that feeling of dissatisfaction is the exact opposite of feeling happy.
So when you’re trying to be busy, do it when you’re really busy. Or even better, do it when you’re feeling happy about the prospect.
Do it when you’re having fun. Do it when you’re with your friends. Do it when you’re having a hard time with something.
When you’re feeling impatient, notice when you’re getting impatient too. Pay attention to when you’re not satisfied.
This is something that I struggle with. I get so caught up on feeling satisfied, especially if I’m feeling pressured to find a partner. But when I’m feeling impatient, it makes me feel even more disappointed.
And it makes me want to pout. So I want to take a moment to be satisfied for a moment.