The Single Life

My husband is off on a hiking vacation with an old friend.  For just over a week, it will be my teen and me, home alone.  The place just won’t feel the same!

Five years ago when my husband left corporate America, it was quite an adjustment for me to have him home all day, every day.  I missed the quiet hours when he was at work and the boys were in school and the house was temporarily picked up and clean.  I missed having the place to myself.  Suddenly, there was another presence in the house all day, disturbing my quiet and neatness.  Disturbing my routine.  In that first year of having my husband home, there was a lot going on:  thinking through the future, considering starting a business, worrying about money, changes and adjustments and uncertainty.  It is no coincidence that I hit my highest weight back then.  Stress eating at it’s best, or worst.

But over the ensuing years, my husband and I slowly started to figure out how to spend our days coexisting in the same space 24/7.  Some things we talked out; some things just evolved.  Some things required adjustment on one or both our parts, or compromise.  We bought a second computer:)  And eventually, I got used to having him around all the time.  And unexpectedly, in some ways grew to depend on him more.

Once upon a time I used to relish the rare occasions when my husband left town and I had the house and bed to myself.  (Some people, who shall go unnamed, snore.)  But I know I am going to miss him.  And not just because he won’t be here to take out the trash or ride bikes with me or grill our dinner or bring in the morning newspaper or stay up late waiting for our teen to come home.  Or to fix the technology that just went on the fritz.  But I will miss having him around.  Will it be TOO quiet now without him?  Will I start talking to myself?  Will our shared office echo in his absence?

Your turn.  Do you like being alone at home?  Do you do things differently when no one else is around?

(Want to read about my last experiences home alone?  You can find them here and here.)



Filed under family, influence of others

58 responses to “The Single Life

  1. I LOVE being alone, but it happens so rarely now. I am watching my nephew while my sil is working and after that, I am off to class.

  2. Kim

    I mostly don’t like it. Hubs usually goes to bed later than me so when he is gone, I have to lock up and turn everything off and then I hear noises and don’t sleep well at night. But, I do like making whatever the kids and I feel like for dinner!

    • Karen

      I’m the same – sometimes scared at night without him around. It was better when we had a dog because I knew she would warn me if I really needed to worry!

  3. I am home alone a lot so I am used to that. We did work together for a bit way back when & it was not a good thing for us! 😉 I think we have it right but I do wish he did not have to work so much.. times are tough & economy is bad so days are long.

    I think if money were no issue, we could do fine with more time together but we both like our time alone too. I think we appreciate each other more…

    I really loved how you wrote in such a loving way about your hubby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Karen

      I am not sure my husband and I could work together well. I think we’d drive each other crazy! And I also think that some alone time is a good thing for a relationship:)

  4. Well, since I’m single, I spend the majority of the time alone. LOL For 4 mths I lived with my brother and sister-in-law and 3 1/2 yr old nephew while I was in transition from moving for my teaching job and waiting to move into my apartment. It was quite a change for me, b/c for 8 years I lived by myself, and got used to being pretty independent about things (I was also 7 hrs away from family!). I always had to have noise, no matter what I was doing except when I was sleeping, and it took a little getting used to having to share space again. Now that I have moved into my apartment, and am by myself again, it has been nice being able to have my own space again, but I do miss having people around!

  5. D

    My DH goes on a fishing trip each year. I savour the time – not that I don’t miss him, but it gives me a break from routine and I get to do some things that I don’t usually do when he’s around (like read a lot, scrapbooking etc.). I always do miss him though!

  6. I love my alone time during the week when my husband is at work and the kids are in school. I function best on a routine and managing things my way. On the rare occasion that he is home sick from work, I’ll tease him and tell him “hey buddy, m-f rules”

    I tend to get discombobulated on the weekends when everyone is home and trashing the house and schedules are out the window. Actually, truthfully, this is something I do not like about myself and need to work through, but it’s the truth.

    • Karen

      I used to really prefer the week days too! Now that my husband is home, there is not as much difference between those and the weekends. And my teen is usually sleeping or out with friends.

  7. I love being alone. That’s the hardest part about my hubby and me both being retired. Fortunately, we do have two computers in separate rooms. That has helped. When I was working, my job had me on the road a lot, so I was alone driving in my car, and often alone in hotels overnight. Now, we are together in the same house, 24/7 and sometimes it drives me crazy! lol I just stopped by from SITS to say hi; hope you will do the same.

    • Karen

      Drove me crazy too! I also tried to explain to my husband that it would be different if we were considering ourselves officially retired. I think we would approach things differently and seek out more new stuff to do. But I could be wrong.

  8. I actually love having other people in the house. When I am alone I find that I eat MORE and worry more. : (

    I do however love to sleep alone. There is just something so great about a night of sleep undisturbed by snoring or body parts flinging about : )

    • Karen

      Yes, those body parts fling around here too! And my husband also gets up to pee at night (as I do) so one more thing to disturb my sleep when he is home. I got out of bed today and the covers were not even pulled all to one side:)

  9. I can so relate to this post! About 4 years ago my hubby changed jobs and started working out of a home office! What an adjustment for me to have him around so much. I felt at first like he was invading my space.

    As his business got busier he started traveling more but by then I had become use to having him here. That was another transition. Now he travels about half the week and I do miss him when he is gone. I try to enjoy my alone time. Of course our youngest still lives at home and commutes to college so I am not an empty nester.

    I cook a little less, blog more and get all of the household chores done while hubby is gone so that when he is home we have more quality time together.

    I do require some alone time so I can recharge my battery.

    • Karen

      Just like me! I had a hard time adjusting to him being here and now I am feeling lonely without him! I admit that I am looking forward to our nest emptying next fall. I want to travel!!!

  10. I enjoy being home alone for a while, but not for days at a time. A few hours of peace and quiet is great, a few days is just lonely. Not that I have to worry about having a few days of it, even if my hubby were to go on a trip I’d still have my three children who are homeschooled and so at least one of them is almost always around.

    • Karen

      The younger mine were the harder it was when my husband used to be gone. Except somehow I managed to get them to bed earlier without dad winding them up in the evenings.

  11. I was a young (teenage) mom so I have literally always been joined at the hip with a little person for the past 11 years. I don’t know how to be alone for more than a few hours.

    Now don’t get me wrong I love my alone time but after say maybe 4 hours I am literally crawling up the wall. I want my child or my bf or even my mom. It’s crazy.

  12. For a few years, my husband used to travel nearly a week out of every month and I, who love being alone, really enjoyed those times. His job was quite stressful at the time, and he brought a lot of it home with him, so I was happy to have quiet, peaceful days during which I didn’t cook or clean, and I watched movies, read books, and generally pampered myself. (I did work for many years in a fast-paced, stressful environment, so please don’t think I’ve had it cushy all my life)

    Now, as he approaches retirement, his job is pretty easy and he rarely brings work home. While he never travels anymore, he goes to a health club nearly every day to play raquetball or swim, so I still manage to have at least a couple of hours to myself even on the weekends.

    And what do I do when he’s not here? Honey, I dance!!! And play my music REAL LOUD!! Actually though, he loves it when I dance while he’s home. Sometimes he joins in, but usually it just makes him laugh.

    • Karen

      I am smiling at the image of you dancing around:) I never even have music on. That was one change after my husband started being home. I so missed the quiet that I no longer even listen to music in the car! I find noise distracting. The other day he had on some youtube video or something and I was trying to write a blog post or read blogs and I just gave up and left the room.

  13. I always want someone else there with me. I loved the summer when the kids where home all day long. When hubby takes a business trip I’m really bad. Last time he was gone I walked down to the pizza place and got pizza and a cannoli. I usually spoil myself with food when he is gone. And watch chick flicks or So You Think You Can Dance. So it is really bad that he is traveling more now. I do sleep better when he is gone though. That is the one good part. This morning I was facing the bathroom and when he went in he woke me up at 5am when he turned the light on. Ughh. I wish the builder had put the light switch inside the door. Maybe I’ll just have to get it changed myself.

    • Karen

      I have gotten some great sleep this week:) And I had a lot of shows saved on my Tivo to watch, but lost them all when it died. Sigh. BTW – my hubby watches SYTYCD too!

  14. You’re right, it’s all what you’re used to, isn’t it? My husband went to the police training academy for 6 months, 6 hours away. It was a long hard 6 months of single mothering the 2 year old and working (more than) full time. Oddly enough I was at my highest weight then, stress much?

    I like alone time, I thrive on it really but in shorter doses. My fella works alot of nights and evenings and now the daughter is in playschool a few times a week. Right now I’m reveling in the quiet and really enjoying it, we’ll see how that evolves.

    • Karen

      I remember how much I looked forward to preschool days! And when my youngest started first grade, all day, I thought of it as mommy freedom time:)

  15. I like my quiet time but if it’s more than a day I’ll miss my husband cuz that’s how I am. But I usually get an hour or so a day where I do my own thing and hubby does his- other than that we pretty much spend all our time together and I love it 🙂

  16. A psychologist friend of mine told me, “If you can;t make it alone, you can’t make it, if you can’t make it with someone, you can’t make it!” I think you are going to make it 🙂

  17. I like it to a degree but I much prefer my husband to be home! Even if I’m going to do everything I would if he was gone, I still want his presence. I’m strangely addicted to him and I wonder if it’s a little unhealthy how much I depend on him. I hate doing anything without him–I even beg him to go to the grocery store with me for a bell pepper. Dumb! I can totally do things by myself. But I prefer him there with me. And if I didn’t have my dog at home, it would be terrible! I don’t have to have her but I love her and am so used to her being around–whenever she has a doggie sleepover I miss her so much when I come home and she’s not there to greet me.

    • Karen

      It is nice that you prefer to have his company:) Our dog died just over a year ago and I was thinking that I miss her most now when I am home alone.

  18. I used to dread when my husband was away on a trip because it felt like time stood still…and I would binge. Terribly. I have come a very long way in that regard and am now able to enjoy myself if he’s not here…that said, I prefer him to be home. And THAT said, I like being able to miss him 🙂

  19. Yes yes yes. I like being able to read blogs without feeling like I am neglecting hubby. And Fudge likes to share the bed with me when hubby works overnight. But most of all, all us chicks in the house like to watch chick flicks when he isn’t home.

    Polar’s Mom

  20. Quite time is great for a while, but can get old really fast. The chick flicks seem to come out!!!

  21. I like having some alone time every day, but, no, I do not like sleeping alone at night. I don’t think I could ever get used to it. I do like it when my hubby is away for a few days, but only if a grandbaby comes to visit, otherwise I am lonesome.

  22. My husband started his own business 6 years ago. We went from him working long hours and traveling a lot to him working from home. It was difficult. Then I got a full time job and I was out of the house all day. Now I only work part time at night and he has an office nearby so I get more time with the house to myself. I sometimes get irritated when he comes home unexpectedly, but for the most part it has worked out. I do miss the days when he traveled. The kids and I have special meals and things we did that we don’t do with him home!

  23. I love being alone at home! I also think I have the best of all worlds with hubby being a teacher. He’s home a little over three months each year and that’s just enough!! I’m always more than ready for school to start back! Having said that, I’ll admit that we coexist quite peacefully and usually don’t get in each others way. He just likes to be more active when at home while I prefer sitting quietly reading or at the computer. Funny this should be your subject today – I’m sitting all alone in a lovely B & B in Lexington, VA headed to Alexandria tomorrow and I couldn’t be more content!

  24. I have to admit that I enjoy the alone time a bit. The best though is when the house is clean, but he sleeps in the clean sheets one night before he goes – so it still smells like him…may sound weird.

  25. I need my alone time, plus Mac and I both travel a lot so we enjoy being together when we are together and make the best of it when we aren’t.

  26. I think that’s so sweet. My husband and I both work from home and are together all the time too. But, in our case, it took us so long to find each other, we’re a long way from getting tired of it.
    Actually, we just want some time in the house without small people here. (we’re breaking “grandmommy” in for the job).
    I do have an insidious urge to go immediately to the kitchen and eat as soon as I’m alone here.
    Weird habit.

  27. AFG

    I can tell you some days are harder than others. Not only do I live with and sleep with my spouse, we work together as well!!! Some days are easier than others. Some days I have to walk away for piece of mind. Some days I long for alone time. I am a loner at heart…

  28. Usually it is me that goes traveling with work, so I’m very rarely at home alone! I think it would be nice occassionally though.

  29. I work from home — and my husband is at home 24 x 7. It is a newer thing — since beginning of summer — and a bit too much. I come and go from the house for exercise, to meet with clients, to shop etc. He is more of a home body — so I feel like he is always here when I am here.

    We are working on it. I tend to go out of town a lot to teach classes in various states — so that helps me 🙂

  30. I like being home alone, but not all of the time. When I’m home alone, I can watch all of the cheesy romance movies that my husband refuses to watch! I can also lay on the couch and nap; however, I love having him there as well.

    • Karen

      I miss napping when no one is around! I love to do it on my couch too, but I can’t with him in the house moving and making noise. BUT, I won’t nap when he is out-of-town because I am afraid if I do I won’t sleep as well at night and if I wake up I might think I hear noises!

  31. Being home alone isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be!.Smile.

  32. sunnydaze

    When I was married I looked forward to being home alone because I never was but I did get kinda creeped out at night.

    Now that I’m single and have gotten used to it, I really kind of enjoy the peace and quiet, being able to watch what I want to on TV, not making supper if I don’t feel like it, only cleaning my own mess…you know how it goes.

  33. As Sharon Stone once said, after breaking up with her hubby whose name I forget, “I am now enjoying the best and the worst thing about being single: room to turn over in bed.” I think she said it better than that, but it did make me laugh. When the boyfriend goes away, I love to sprawl across the bed and take up all the extra space. Until I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep because I miss him!

  34. I do, but only for maybe a day or so. Any more and I miss my husband too much! 🙂 Enjoy your alone time, Karen!

  35. I do like being home alone but, that being said, my husband and I haven’t spent any nights apart ever, except for times I was in the hospital! So I guess I like having a few hours alone! Knowing me I’d make all these elaborate plans (like to write a book in a week) and then do nothing the whole week but shop… Ho hum.

  36. Your post gives me a grain of hope… thank you!

  37. If I didn’t make a special effort to carve out some alone time, I’d never get any. I used to feel guilty for wanting some time for myself, but now I don’t. Sometimes that means taking a vacation day while hubby and kiddo are at school…or just going grocery shopping by myself…or like yesterday, just going into the bedroom and shutting the door and taking a nap for a few minutes when I was about to lose it. I think part of our problem is we don’t have any family around, and haven’t really made any close friends in the area where we live, so we’re in each other’s face all the time. My husband understands and respects the need to have some alone time, as I do with him. Sometimes even the kiddo likes to go in her room and play by herself. I used to feel guilty about that too…like I had to be actively engaged with her every waking moment, then I realized she likes a little bit of alone time too. I guess that’s something everyone needs…even our cat!

    Great topic!

    • Karen

      For me, alone time and life got easier as my kids got older. I remember other moms being so sad when their youngest went to school all day and I thought of it as “mommy freedom.” Sometimes we just need to put ourselves first so we can be there for everyone else later:)

  38. I enjoy having our apartment to myself…sometimes.

    We moved to a new city, in a new state about 4 months ago. For the first three months, I had no job so I stayed home alone – well, with our dog – all day. I loved it at first but it did start to get boring. I found myself having conversations with my dog on several occasions – of course, I voiced both roles (yea, it was THAT bad). :S
    However, since I’ve been working, I’ve longed for the chance to stay home. Alone. With no makeup. In my pajamas for the whole day, even.
    But, on the other hand, I’ve also longed for quality time WITH my guy. I work 35 hours a week. He’s at school/work (he’s a grad assistant who teaches Calculus atop his normal school schedule) for about the same, weekly. THEN, when we ARE home simultaneously, I’m doing my own school work (online)/cooking/cleaning while he’s writing lesson plans/grading/studying.
    So, I think I said all of that to get to this point:
    As much as I love my “alone time”, what I’m craving most, at the moment, is “couple time”.

  39. The Binge Diary

    I’m single and it is NOT easy to be alone. Sometimes I feel so lonely that my heart aches. That is something I’m trying to work on. Love your blog!!

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