Social Question

Sjcluna's avatar

Does having a partner make life easier or harder?

Asked by Sjcluna (122 points ) December 27th, 2012

Having recently split with a long term partner, I have found certain aspects of my life much easier to cope with. However, a friend has told me that having the “right” partner would make my life easier. Is this true? Am I missing out on something that would make my life less stressful?

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47 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

It totally depends on the partner and the relationship.

cookieman's avatar

Both. Depends on the day. Mostly better.

Coloma's avatar

No. The opposite IMO. The vast majority of relationships are dysfunctional and hardly enviable IMO.
This myth that one has to be coupled to have a meaningful life is bullshit.

I spent way too long in an unhappy marriage and other than the extra financial boost of sharing living expenses I have no desire to ever share a home with another person, ever again.
I am very happy and content and cherish my lifestyle of being single.
I am 53 now and I am still witnessing people ( friends & aquanitences ) in my age bracket going from relationship to relationship and obsessing over the relationship issues. I cannot STAND to listen to 50 something year old people and their fucking relationship dramas anymore.

Jesus, have you learned nothing at all? lol
Maybe time to fall in love with yourself, ya think? haha

jonsblond's avatar

My partner and I work very well together. I can’t say having him in my life has made my life harder, even during the worst of times. I quite like having a partner in crime. It’s comforting to know I have someone in my life who has my back at all times.

Sunny2's avatar

It certainly can be easier and it’s definitely more interesting, two minds being better than one, usually. It takes a easy give and take attitude on the part of both parties to work well. And, admittedly, there are many people who cannot sustain such a relationship because of their own personalities and don’t recognize it. Choosing a complementary partner is another issue.

downtide's avatar

I think its both, depending on the relationship and the particular area, and what skils you each have, and how much each of you is willing to contribute.

ucme's avatar

Better certainly, after all there’s no I in team, but there is a me if you look close enough.
That answer was brought to you by slightlypissedcliches.com.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think it makes life easier: You wash; I’ll dry. You do the laundry while I cut the grass. Help me unload this chair. I’ll clean the bathroom while you vacuum. Cook for two. Buy one get one dinner coupons.

So many tasks take the same amount of time if done for one as it does for two. Housing, heat, property taxes are split two way.
Easier – if you have the right person.

Coloma's avatar

Well…I am such an awesome woman there are no men out there that can match my special gifts.
How’s that for self aggrandizing! lol
To parrot an old Led Zeppelin tune..I am searching for a man thats never, ever, been born.
To live with me you must be a stand up comic, quick on the improv, insanely creative, have offbeat passions and never, ever, expect me to carry your slippers in my teeth or make you a bacon and egg breakfast. I don’t do grease, at all. Want a heart attack on a plate, I’ll drop you at Dennys.lol

janbb's avatar

I think it made life easier for me but it also inhibited my growth in many ways. I have a close friend now though with whom I work beautifully together and would love to find a partner/lover relationship like that some day.

burntbonez's avatar

I think we get used to whatever hand we are dealt. I would prefer to have a partner, but that is for companionship. Sure, I would expect her to share in the duties of keeping a household. I would not like to do everything, but if she were sick or for some reason could not do anything, I wouldn’t mind doing it all. Rather it’s about contributing as you can. I want a partner who wants to contribute according to her abilities and proclivities, and I hope that those dovetail with mine. Between the two of us, we have everything covered with little overlap or emptiness. Not that I expect anyone to like to clean toilets, but you never know.

@Coloma You seem like the kind of gal who would love to clean toilets, speaking of offbeat passions—am I right?

Shippy's avatar

easier :)

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think statistics show that you live longer with a life partner/ spouse, but I’m just not convinced. I’d say if it’s the wrong partner, you’re definately better off alone.

Coloma's avatar

@burntbonez I’m a team player sure, but if you have a spatter issue, wipe up your own. lol
I am damn good cook though and would keep you laughing that’s for sure.:-p

marinelife's avatar

I think there are tradeoffs to both lifestyles. I like having a partner who I am romantically involved with.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My mom has been single since the 70’s and she hates it. She always tells me how lucky I am to have found someone to share my life with and says a lot of her single clients complain about being loney a LOT.

I love my husband but I was single the first 29 years of my life and loved it. Perhaps it’s a question of the ‘grass is always greener’?!

Aster's avatar

It all depends on whether the two involved are miserable , lazy loudmouths or lovey dovey, humorous and supportive. I lived alone for a year in my forties and liked it because I had very little laundry, no sports on the tv, no one telling me what to do or how to do it. I cooked much less. But, alas, severe loneliness tormented me. Why am I ashamed of it? Now I’ve lived and loved with someone for twenty six years and I like it better for many reasons, not the least of which is I never feel lonely. That was painful .

livelaughlove21's avatar

Both, but mostly easier. If my husband divorced me, my life would be MUCH harder than it is now. A good partner should make more things easier more often than they make things harder.

JenniferP's avatar

It depends on the partner. Considering that I am in the process of a divorce it is obvious what my answer is. I do however feel that with the right person and if people have the right attitude that marriage can be a blessing.

Bellatrix's avatar

If you find the right person, easier. If you don’t, not so easy.

My life was much better without my first husband but is infinitely better with my second husband.

woodcutter's avatar

Easier. It’s all give and take. Just like life in general.

wundayatta's avatar

Since a year out of college, I have not been without a partner. I feel existential loneliness even with a partner. Without one, I think I would be dead within a year or two. I think a lover/partner/wife is essential for my wellbeing.

And it’s not because I can’t do things or need help. I can do everything a person needs to do, except, possibly, wash clothes. But I would figure that out, and if not, I can afford to buy new clothes often enough.

But I need the companionship. I need to know I am here. When I’m alone, I lose my sense of self. I start to diffuse into the universe. I get very heady. I can’t stay grounded. I just start to float into the universe and that is a really big, empty, black, depressing place.

Without people, I get disconnected and don’t know who I am. The call of the void would likely become irresistible.

josie's avatar

Having a partner is always easier. It is no different than being in combat. If you have at least one buddy, you believe you have a chance. If you are isolated, you begin to believe that you are doomed, which is a serious challenge to morale. Give me a partner any day. If the challenge is big enough, I will make it work.

dabbler's avatar

It makes a lot of things easier, especially practical matters.

It makes some things harder, like having the task of tolerance thrust upon you.

Some things are only uniquely possible in the ‘Crucible of the Relationship’ as a past mentor would advise. Self-discovery and growth can be supported in a partnership in ways hardly possible solo.

JenniferP's avatar

@wundayatta I feel the opposite. I am totally at peace in my apartment by myself. I do miss my pets though.

burntbonez's avatar

@JenniferP I wonder if men and women are different on this issue. The say a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.

gailcalled's avatar

@burntbonez: It wasn’t “They,” but Gloria Steinem who said that.

burntbonez's avatar

Cool, @gailcalled. How do you know this?

Bellatrix's avatar

Who says this @burntbonez? According to a study carried out to understand relationships after bereavement or divorce in people aged 55–89, men were six times more likely to enter a new relationship than women (De Jong Geirveld 2004).

A direct quote from De Jong Geirveld’s paper “Men in particular appear to adapt less easily to the loss of their partners (Lee, Willets, & Seccombe, 1998), and benefit more than women from partner relationships (Antonucci, 1994; Bograd & Spilka, 1996; Cooney & Dunne, 2001). Finding a new partner may be an attractive option for older adults, especially men (Dykstra, 1990) who feel deprived of the taken-for-granted attentive activities that were carried out for them by their former wives (Mason, 1996).

This would support my own personal observations. Men, particularly older men, would seem to re-enter relationships more readily than women.

Thank you @gailcalled for answering my initial question.

wundayatta's avatar

@JenniferP If you are totally at peace alone, then I guess you must be very happy about making that state of affairs permanent. Different strokes. And, as @Bellatrix points out, it fits the hypothesis about the difference between men and women on this issue.

burntbonez's avatar

@Bellatrix Yes, that is as I suspected.

gailcalled's avatar

@burntbonez: I lived in Manhattan when she was the editor of the first liberal feminist magazine, Ms, which all of us young women were reading. She said lots of quotable things.

@Bellatrix: You’re welcome. What exactly did I say? And where did I say it? Apparently not on this question.

JenniferP's avatar

@wundayatta I don’t get lonely and I don’t miss him at all. He was a very angry person and a pack rat. I don’t know which was worse. I do wish I had a boyfriend though. But ours isn’t a scriptural divorce so I am not free to remarry.

burntbonez's avatar

@gailcalled I did a little research and see that some people say it was attributed to Gloria Steinem. Perhaps she published it first. Others say it was her quote. Others say it was an anonymous graffito that she borrowed.

gailcalled's avatar

@burnbonez; She did popularize it, if nothing else.

augustlan's avatar

With the right partner, most things are easier, or at least neutral. There is nearly always something that is harder with a partner (even if it’s just getting enough alone time), but with the right one, the good will far outweigh the bad.

I do think that, generally speaking, men feel the need for a relationship more than women do.

LuckyGuy's avatar

After I answered earlier I made a mental note of other examples as I went through the day. Examples:
Please help me get this wood chip out of my eye.
One person cleans off the car and does the edges while the other uses the snowblower.
I’ll get the wood and start the fire.
Let’s split that dessert/meal/bottle.
The new software is on both computers.
The laundry is done.
Family health care plan.
Sleeping.

Men are far more likely to get into a relationship later in life. Do you think that’s because there are fewer elderly men? At a bare minimum it’s just math.
Men die off faster and younger than women. Survived by his wife.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy I agree. There seem to be far fewer single men out there so they are more likely to to find someone.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@wundayatta I really enjoyed your post and your detailed descriptions of your feelings, it’s just so rare in men to articulate so well.

I feel more alive alone, that I’m not thinking about silly things like money, clothes and nonsense. When I’m with a bunch of people, that’s when I feel I lose myself- I mean I enjoy it occasionally with close friends, but it’s all so much fluff unless you’re with intelligent people who like to use their brains. I think I’m a hermit deep down because I never get sick of myself or my imagination or reading/ studying subjects I’m interested in.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I agree with @Bellatrix sharing. I have read similar material saying that men benefit from almost ANY relationship, but for women, if it is not a REALLY GOOD relationship we are better off uncoupled.
I wholeheartedly agree.
I too have zero existential dread and cherish living alone.

I am grateful that I feel whole and complete all myself and enjoy my own company.
The biggest stress for me is the financial end of being single, otherwise, I do not feel any sense of longing or sadness that I don’t have a relationship. Been there, done that, like being my own person much more than being coupled up. Yes, I have become very selfish and self protective of my peace and space in the last decade and seriously, I am married to myself first and foremost of all. :-)

Coloma's avatar

I would also agree that in my age group, where women, even if they also worked outside the home, were expected to cater to and be surrogate mommies to the men. These expectations are still alive and well and I do think most, not all, but MOST men in my age bracket still want a woman to fulfill motherly “duties” for them. Gah!
I have a friend right now who has been with a man for 3 years, who wrangled her up before his divorce of 17 years was final and he spends 5–6 nights a week at her place, where she gets him up for work and makes his breakfast and packs his little boy scout lunch and sends him off to work and washes his clothes and irons his dress shirts!

NO FUCKING WAY!
It’ll be a cold day in hell before I ever sign up as some giant baby mans mommy. lol

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma My husband is so spoiled he won’t even eat leftovers, it’s pathetic! He was his mom’s third & final son so getting him unspoiled is very difficult. I have to admit in our culture in my area men are catered to anyway so I was pretty much raised to spoil the men in my own family.

Even though I work 40+ he expects a home-cooked meal and a clean house, it sucks and he is quite often disappointed…lol Although I have to admit, men I’ve been with in the past have been very similar in wanting to be taken care of.

Give me a sexy, inteligent, independent man any day for long-term relationships, otherwise it’s exausting. :)

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL I agree 100%, the programming is pretty hardwired for us females to be caretakers, no thanks, been there, done that. haha

wundayatta's avatar

Funny thing happened on Christmas dinner. Lately, since my wife has retired, she has taken over the day to day cooking, and still does most of the cleaning (which she always did). But for major meals, I’m the cook, and it’s kind of like a performance at the very end when all the dishes are getting done together, and I have to finish the onions, mash the potatoes, take the turkey out of the oven, get the pan juices, and make the gravy, together with trying to communicate with everyone that things are about to be done, and accept the guests contributions to the dinner.

My friends had a great time trying to distract me by asking me questions in the middle of all this. They they amused themselves by making comments about my lack of response. They speculated about whether I could even hear them or not. I could. But I was in the zone. I like being in that zone where everything is happening at once and I have to make it all make sense. It happens in cooking and music and at work at crunch time.

You instantly prioritize things and there’s no time for politeness. It’s triage in the Wundayatta kitchen. And there’s an audience. They like to watch me cook, maybe because I do enter into this fugue state.

I don’t think women are the only ones who like to take care. I do it for everyone, not just myself. I do it to bring people together, and I do it because I can. Because my wife knows what her areas of responsibility are (the front of the house, so to speak), and we’ve been working together for decades now, doing this. It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s a lot of work, and it took three days to clean up afterwards, and now there’s New Year’s Eve, although I doubt if we will party.

Life goes on.

Until it doesn’t.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@wundayatta It is like a performance, especially during holidays. Your friends sound ornery like you- lol

My husband makes a pretty good spaghetti and beef fritters, I have to admit.

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