Monday, 12 February 2018

One or two?

The endless argument about which is the best lifestyle, living alone or living with someone else, polarises a lot of people. Some reel off all the benefits of being on your own while others say no, no, it's much better to cohabit.

Having spent long periods both on my own and living with someone else, I see the perks and drawbacks of both. But the abstract argument about which is best misses the point, because in reality it's a question of what suits your particular personality. Gregarious types like company, retiring types want solitude.

Personally I much prefer living with someone else. I like the company, the emotional support, the private jokes, the shared experiences, the joint decision-making, the reliance on the other's expertise, the hugs and cuddles. And the bed's a lot warmer!

When I lived alone (for about eight years), I liked the independence, the simplicity of only considering myself, the ability to freely indulge my own tastes, the lack of distractions.

That doesn't amount to much though compared to cohabiting. Being on my own may have been great in some ways, but I was aware there was so much missing. Especially the emotional support, shared experiences and hugs and cuddles.

Living alone is probably okay if you have a big social network - plenty of friends and family to give you the benefits of company - or if you spend a lot of time travelling and you're not at home very much, but if you only have one or two friends, as I had, and you're always inside the same four walls, then it's not such fun.

But I know people living on their own who are perfectly happy and would hate to share their space with anyone else.

Whatever floats your boat....

22 comments:

helen devries said...

I like my husband's company....but not sure I could live with anyone else, or that anyone else could live with me.

Bijoux said...

I've never really heard it debated before. I think I only lived alone (no roommates or spouse) for less than 2 years. It was sort of boring, but that was before the Internet and cable TV.

CheerfulMonk said...

As you know, we've been married over 53 years now and like it. :)

nick said...

Helen: It's hard to imagine living with anyone other than Jenny. We're so used to each other's little quirks and foibles.

Bijoux: Me too. I lived alone from 1973 to 1981. No internet, no mobile phones. I felt very isolated.

nick said...

Jean: Over 53 years, that's quite something. You do seem to have a very strong relationship.

kylie said...

It's probably an experience everyone should have but I have never lived alone and I'm not sure how I would manage if i did

tammy j said...

I think I would love to live with Bob again if he could come back. but other than him I have adjusted to living alone. and I genuinely enjoy it.
I'm not sure I would like it though if I suddenly no longer had the internet. now I can't imagine NOT having it.

nick said...

Kylie: It takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to having other people around. Especially having to deal with every problem, large or small, on your own.

Tammy: The internet's a wonderful invention, but the strange thing is that so many people complain of loneliness despite all their internet chums.

Mike Goad said...

I like some alone time, now and then, but living alone would require an adjustment. I never really have lived alone. Our marriage is going on 46 years in June.

Rummuser said...

I am surprised that Monk did not use her favourite DPLDT! Different People Like Different Things!

I don't live alone but have in the past. I don't live with my wife but with my daughter in love and son and a dog. I would not like to live any other way.

nick said...

Mike: Jenny has never lived on her own, she's always lived with other people. So I think she rather enjoys it when I'm away somewhere!

Ramana: Exactly. One person relishes being alone, another would absolutely hate it. We all have very different needs.

I didn't know you had a dog (you may have mentioned it somewhere but I didn't take it in)

Wisewebwoman said...

I think, like you say, you have to taste both sides of this. I've lived with several and truly embrace living alone, I can't imagine sharing space now, I came close, as you know in the time I've moved to NL also but men in my generation would demand too much of me. I am difficult to live with, I know, too much into my head, my books, my writings, my designs.

Ideally, and in another life, I'd like to be a lesbian. The lesbians I know intimately are truly happy, understanding and being understood and the most supportive and equal sharing of the couples I know well. I think I could handle that kind of live in.

I'm never bored and have never been bored in my life, so that's a plus, I know.

XO
WWW

nick said...

www: If you're used to living alone, you have plenty to do and you're enjoying life, it would be hard to get used to living with someone else. Especially as you say if it means some demanding old geezer.

I'm with you on lesbians. I know several very happy lesbians who seem to have a great life. They don't have to adjust to some bossy male trying to rule the roost!

nick said...

There's nothing like a nice warm body to snuggle up to on a cold winter's night....

Danielle L Zecher said...

I think you're right that it comes down largely to personality. I think it's good for everyone to live alone, even briefly, at some point. I love living with my hubby, but I don't think I could stand living with anyone else. I tried the room mate thing in my younger years and determined that it was not for me.

nick said...

Danielle: Like you, if anything happened to my partner, I'm not sure I could live with someone else. It would take such a huge adjustment from a familiar person to a completely different person. I lived in a flat-share for a very short time and hated it. The other sharers were totally undomesticated and the place soon degenerated into a semi-slum.

Terry said...

Hi Nick, I prefer to cohabit. It’s more personal to be with someone, I think. Nice topic.

nick said...

Terry: "More personal" is a good way of summing it up. That personal contact between two people, that sharing of emotions and experiences and viewpoints, is so important.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I really think everyone, women especially, ought to live along for a bit just to know that they can. It's empowering. I lived on my own for a year in grad school, then moved in with my husband-to-be at the time. Cut to twenty years later and I was on my own again. Well, with two kids half of the time. I lived on my own for 8 years before my now-husband moved in. And I liked it. It's great to have someone here sharing my life, but I also really like the peace and freedom and independence of living on my own. So I know about myself that I'm okay either way.

nick said...

Agent: That's a very healthy situation, that you're okay with either being on your own or cohabiting. I think successfully living on your own is especially empowering for women, who even in these more enlightened days are often encouraged to move in with a man at the earliest opportunity.

Liz Hinds said...

There are times when I think I would like a little cell of my own with no-one to have to feed or worry about or even take into consideration when I make plans. But those times are few. Definitely on the whole I'm glad I am not alone.

nick said...

Liz: I think Jenny would like a little cell of her own occasionally! But little cells can easily breed cabin fever.