Post divorce from a 19-year romantic (monogamous) relationship, with 13 of 19 post wedding, I have had to live in solitude. Having not become engaged in any new romantic relationship since break up of my marriage, my time in solitude has at the present time extended to a good 6 years and counting.
I thoroughly enjoyed being a father to my four lovely kids — three boys and a girl, the girl being last. It was after my daughter was born that I realized just how different girls are from boys. My boys adored me as their father, loved the fact that I always was accessible; loved the fact I spent not quantity but quality time with them. If my boys wanted to negotiate for Friday night pizza, Dad was easier to negotiate with than Mom.
My daughter, she totally wanted to spend time with me. Given I could work from home, there were times I had to take a break and just make up my mind to enjoy the time with my daughter. I always could make up the work time later in the day or at night. Once I saw how different daughters were from sons, a part of me wanted at least one more. My ex wife was 39 at the time, she graciously dissented. I was only half kidding anyways. Four kids already was more than I really had wanted. We had gone from two to four only because my ex wife wanted that many. Marriage is negotiation; sometimes you get your way, other times your partner’s agenda holds sway. So long as give and take does not become competition, give and take is the only way to keep a marriage healthy, strong, and virile.
I have been in solitude for 6 years. I am now, however, becoming scared of my solitude because I have come to terms with it and am enjoying freedoms and liberties it entails. When I consider the prospect of a new romantic relationship, and all of the accommodations that would entail for the relationship to be successful, I wonder whether I remain capable of all of those accommodations which came naturally within context of my first marriage.
When you have been married before, have kids, and no longer are 27 (my age at timing of my first marriage), marriage no longer is necessarily path of progress in life.
Frankly, the thought of sharing wardrobe space, and how exactly to arrive at the sharing formula now scares me. Laugh if you want, I tell you this is real. Having to think of how to keep a romantic partner happy with gifts, something I have not done for 6 years has become a scary thought. I imagine having to take time from a project to go looking for a gift because she is angry and I need to show I care. The thought of spending perhaps a whole day trying to restore the relationship to equilibrium? Totally scary. Thoughts of efforts required for maintenance of a healthy sexual life? I have not had to think such thoughts for 6 years. Mine has been a solitude of default celibacy. Thoughts of having to manage inlaws make me simply not want to ever get married again.
The reason I am scared?
What I have going now works for me. I have peace, I have joy. I am gaining mastery over new things. I am making good progress in my career. I am as creative and innovative and productive as I ever have been. I come and go as I please. I watch mostly sports, news, and recorded movies — movies I watch at my own pleasure. I have total control over me. Thoughts of giving up some of that control to a romantic partner? Scary.
Given how much good I am getting out of my default solitude, scary is healthy because it means I will not give up what already works simply because I am desperate for a new romantic relationship. I will not destroy an existing equilibrium just so I can say I have a girlfriend.
If we do not allow solitude and associated aloneness transform into loneliness, solitude I have found can be a beautiful state. My personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ is one of the pillars of my life which enables me maintain solitude in realm of aloneness, as opposed to transformation of solitude into loneliness. Absent strength I derive from my personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, I could not have turned my solitude into eons of productivity in just about every aspect of my life — if we are weighed down with emotional stress, it is difficult to translate solitude into newness and productivity.
I woke up one morning in 2015 with the realization a boatload of emotional stress from break up of my marriage just was rolling off of me. I did not have conscious realization of this emotional strain, which as at 2015 had been with me for 3 years. It was strength I derived from my Lord Jesus Christ that kept me from feeling the strain of that emotional stress. Think of it this way. When an arrow lands on a soldier’s shield during battle, the soldier feels the impact yet is not wounded. During those 3 years, my Lord Jesus Christ was my shield. The emotional strain was an undercurrent in my life from which I was shielded by my Lord Jesus Christ. This is what it means when Christian Scriptures declare (I paraphrase) that “the chastisement of our peace was placed on Jesus Christ such that by His bruise there is healing for us regardless it be emotional, physiological, spiritual, or psychological healing of which we are in need (Isaiah 53:5).”
I am confident that if marriage remains in the cards for me (Jesus’ cards), solitude that is good for me will remain within reach within context of a new, fulfilling, lasting romantic relationship. In mean time, I cherish peace, quietness, newness, and joy I have in my life from enjoyment of the time I have spent and continue to spend living in productive solitude.