Alone Is a Valid Choice

Being alone is a choice, though temperament plays a large role. Many people can’t abide being alone, but other people (like me) only feel complete when alone (which is not weird, just different).

That everyone must be in some sort of romantic relationship is a huge cultural assumption. There’s not as much pressure to marry as there used to be, but there’s still a lot of pressure to be in some sort of relationship.

But it’s true that you can be alone but not lonely, or you can be with someone but still be lonely.

flat,550x550,075,fI stumbled onto a website called quirky alone. The movement consists mostly of women, and it surprised me to learn that the founder, Sasha Cagen, dates.

To me, dating is like having a rock in your shoe. You don’t want to make a scene by taking your shoe off in public, so you tough it out until an appropriate time arises to remove it.

When on a date I’d wonder why I was there and how soon I could disappear, but in the meantime I’d make polite conversation and put on my best manners. This can only make things worse because then she might want a second date, and that requires coming up with a lame excuse. Worse, she might take it personally, like she’s not attractive enough (which is not usually the case, but women are so used to being judged).

But why date only because it’s a cultural expectation? It’s not what I want to do, so I stopped doing it.

There’s also Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW). But these guys are misogynists, and most of them want to be in relationships but women keep rejecting them (hint: misogyny is a turn off). I oppose sexism, and the stuff I see on MGTOW makes me cringe. I like women as people, I just don’t want a romantic entanglement.

Being alone has its advantages:

  • I can be myself.
  • I don’t have to take on anyone’s emotional baggage.
  • I have no excuse but to take responsibility for my issues.
  • My home is peaceful and quiet.
  • My place is neat and clutter free.
  • I’m very fastidious about sleeping, and any amount of sensory input wakes me. So I sleep with an eyeshade and earplugs. But another person in the bed makes sleeping impossible.
  • I can go the entire weekend without talking. Holiday weekends are an added bonus.

And romantic entanglements have their problems:

  • Losing yourself: Most potential relationship partners are less interested in who you are than in who they want you to be; and typically this ideal reflects something missing within themselves, though they fail to recognize this and thus fail to take responsibility for it. Though each sex thinks this is primarily true of the opposite sex, I see no evidence of any significant sex difference here. Indeed, the urge to blame the opposite sex is usually projection and is best explained with social psychology’s notion of the self-serving bias.
  • Unreasonable demands: There’s an unspoken demand that your happiness is your partner’s responsibility, but really it’s your responsibility. Another person can make you unhappy, but they can’t make you truly happy because anything that comes from an external source can also be taken away.
  • Drama: Need I say more? For low key individuals such as myself, drama can be very stressful. And in my experience people who complain about drama are the ones creating it, and indeed feed off it. Mostly this has to do with their need for attention, preferably positive regard, but in its absence and/or when there’s a perceived unmet need, negative attention is better than nothing.
  • Control: A perceived shortcut to meeting your unmet needs is to make the other person do it. I say perceived because it’s an illusion that fails to accomplish its goal. I don’t believe that men are any more controlling than women, though much attention has been given to men’s controlling behaviors while women in some instances are encouraged to be controlling (“change your man” articles in women’s magazines should more accurately be titled “control your man”).
  • Ongoing obligations: Even after a relationship ends, especially a marriage, the obligations can remain. The risk here is greater for men, which may be one reason why men on average are more marriage averse. I know many men who have had to deal with substandard living situations because they had a mortgage payment for a place they no longer live in, and/or had child support payments for children they rarely see (the ex can move out of state, for example, and there’s nothing he can do about it).

There’s always the question, What about sex? It’s rare that I feel comfortable enough with a woman to want to take my clothes off (I don’t know why). And masturbation is a simple alternative. Obviously, this would be a bigger problem for most people.


Confessions of a Hermit (Wannabe)

I only feel normal when I’m alone.  I didn’t choose this – it’s who I am.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I don’t hate people, nor am I a social reject.  People are always trying to befriend me, but I keep a distance.  Often they take it personally.  But I don’t mean to offend.

Society’s opinion is that hermits – usually called loners – are nut cases, and probably violent.  When someone shoots up a mall the media typically describe the person as a loner, whether or not that’s true.

IX_The-Hermit002-e1324297385857The Unibomber is an oft cited example.  But people like that are not hermits or loners by nature, but instead wish desperately to be part of social groups that have rejected them for their strangeness (frequently caused by mental illness).

I’m not mentally ill.  Nor am I unhappy.  In fact, I’m happier when by myself.  I have no desire to harm anyone, and have never intentionally hit someone – not even as a child (although as a boy I more than once unintentionally hit friends, and was hit, during games of cops and robbers).

I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs personality test several times, and each time the scorer gives the same reaction when I score at the far end of the introversion scale.  I guess you don’t see that all too often.

I can remember as a child being perplexed that solitary confinement is considered a punishment (I decided it was because you’re not allowed to have books).  Or that exile was a punishment in ancient times.  So you go off and live in the woods.  Yay!  My teachers were confounded that they had to explain something so obvious to me.

I say I’m a hermit wannabe.  Being a hermit isn’t easy.  I have a small apartment in the city, not a cabin in the woods.  I have a job that requires considerable contact with the public – I have to pay my bills somehow.  Casual acquaintances often remark that I’m so quiet, but only those who know me well (family, mostly) are aware that I’m a hermit.

And they think I should change.  But my eyes are blue, and I couldn’t make them brown even if I wanted to.  And I’m a hermit, and I couldn’t be a social butterfly even if I wanted to.