I moved out of the home I shared with my ex-husband more than five years ago. It was the end of January, and I remember I was allowed access to my small, two-bedroom suite a few days early. I called it “Freedom Day” and by the time the movers did their thing and I was left alone, I started crying tears of joy and relief, of promise and grief. The fresh start wasn’t one I had asked for, but I was happy for the new beginning, nonetheless.
I adapted, as I do. I got ready to take the dog in as a full-time single parent. I bought groceries that brought me joy and decided my home would always have ice cream in it. I had no clutter and delighted in having in its place.
I loved that I was the only person in my house and that no dirty dishes would magically appear when I went out. I had complete control over the TV, I could leave the messy kitchen to be dealt with the next day if I wanted to, and I could leave my clothes strewn around the house. I could have wine, cheese or both for dinner, if I chose, and had at least seven varieties of each to choose from. I could freely indulge in my quirkiness: using the eggs from the carton from opposite ends and both rows evenly (okay…I may be a touch OCD with that one), folding the towels a certain way, using the “correct” glasses and coffee mugs for each occasion, using pretty linen napkins for all eating activities (even if it’s to-go and in the car), and not going to sleep with the sheets jumbled and twisted. (Um. That all sounds makes me sound High. Maintenance.) In any case, I thought it was a pretty nice way to live for a long time and I would have hesitated to give any of it up.
Sure, I missed having someone to capture the giant spiders and carefully relocate them outside. I missed having someone who was obligated to listen to me and my rambling tales and drive me home when I’d had too much to drink. It got lonely, yes, but I loved the freedom of it well enough—until I didn’t. I started to crave someone in my life, someone to shuffle through Sunday mornings with me and enjoy a pot of coffee over some sleepy tunes on the stereo. I missed having my life witnessed in its minutia. After a few years of this, I found I wanted to share the life I had rebuilt with someone new.
And when that someone new came into my life, I didn’t look back, except with sweet nostalgia for the single life I had. It’s an interesting thing, isn’t it, to want more of what we had when it’s gone? To have all that we ever dared to wish for, and hesitate for a split second as it all becomes true?
So my mate, my match, has moved into my apartment with me. And I got all my wishes: I have a sweet man who comes home to the same place I do each day and greets me by telling me how much I was missed. I get to share meals, bills, remote controls and my life with someone who makes me laugh. My side of the bed gets warmed while I brush my teeth and tuck the house in for the night. The toilet seat is left down for me, and I suddenly have pretty patterned towels. He lets me warm up my feet on him, and as I write each morning, the coffee is made.
I don’t feel like I have given up any of the single luxuries I enjoyed: I still schlep around the house for ridiculous amounts of time in my cozy (frumpy) pyjamas, and carry on with my nutty ways. I still get to be lazy when it comes to putting away my clean laundry (seriously, this is just not a priority some weeks.)
I live with my biggest fan and feel more free than I have in a long time.
The cherry on top would be to find a home to buy — this is a somewhat temporary stop as we look for slightly-bigger place we will share that will hold all of our big dreams and not require that we be in the same room all the time. I like that that doesn’t really matter, though, home is already right here, wherever we are.
I always say that the whole point of a relationship is to be set free because of it, and I know so well that that is true. When we are loved completely and as we are, with no requests to change or be different, we get to flourish as the delightful, silly, messy humans that we are. There is nothing more freeing than that.