General Question

elchoopanebre's avatar

Being alone?

Asked by elchoopanebre (3074points) December 3rd, 2008

Do you think it’s possible to be alone your whole life and it not necessarily be a bad thing ?

I’m beginning to believe the best thing for me is to die a single man (unmarried that is; non-serious relationships are fine).

See the thing is I hate being tied down. The whole “a rolling stone gathers no moss” saying sounds awesome to me. I like being completely spontaneous and I’m very bad at sticking to anything for a long while. The same applies with people. They fascinate me for a short period then I feel like I’ve seen enough of them and move on. As you might imagine, I don’t do very well in relationships.
I go from being obsessed to randomly cooling off overnight and not caring about the person as much.

I see this as a character flaw on my part and I wonder if I’m really supposed to be with anyone. I’m not depressed about it or anything…I think people define themselves based on who they’re with way too early and never get a chance to figure themselves out.
Also, I don’t think I’ll ever be mature enough to be a father and a husband. I think bringing a child into this world would be one of the most irresponsible things I could do. Also, I wouldn’t want to have a failed marriage and hurt myself, my souse, and our children.

Do you think some people that are alone their whole life are fine with it and could never truly settle down? Do you think there’s any way to know if I’m one of those people?

Sorry for the long question but I didn’t really see a way to abbreviate this one.

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32 Answers

answerjill's avatar

Music suggestion on relevant theme: Check out “My Famous Leaving Song” by Alistair Moock!

trumi's avatar

I know several men that are single by choice and are completely content. Some people are just meant to be on their own. But don’t commit yourself either; it’s possible to be a happy single person and looking for someone at the same time.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I know plenty of men like this. The key is to be up front about it, and not lead people on. If you’re over 36, have never been married, and are heterosexual, most women figure out there’s a reason.

I think it’s really common in Irish families. I recall reading a story by Maeve Binchey, where she references “Irish batchelors” who are content to hang out with the guys, follow sports, are good to their mothers, etc. rather than get married.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

If you’re happy, then that should be fine, lead your own life. I’ve heard of many people who don’t ever want a family of their own, or settle down. Maybe one day you’ll want to settle down, but if you’re ok with however things are, then keep it that way.

martinf's avatar

Life is so mundane and repetitive, relationships at least let you know you have more of an effect on the world than the job you do. I can’t comprehend why you would actually want to be emotionally isolated.
I think it’s unhealthy.

trumi's avatar

I think he… kind of… said why… in the question….

derekpcollins's avatar

Great question. I’ve often wondered about this myself (not about me—I’m happily married—but about other people). I can’t give you an answer to your question, but I think it is commendable that you recognize these traits in yourself and you’re willing to accept them.

steve6's avatar

If you are old and have been living the way you describe for some time now and you are happy then it may be for you. If you want to have a relationship but always “cool off” try talking to a therapist. They are really good at helping people with issues such as yours.

jessturtle23's avatar

I have always thought that if someone is alone in old age with no family it is probably something they did like being a jerk or being a hermit. My best friend says she feels the same way you do and loses interest in guys after a few weeks but I really think she is is more worried about her ego and being rejected. If you refuse to experience things then you will never know what you are good at. Also, a woman having her husband leave her is not usually the worst thing they will ever experience and if it is they are blessed. If you aren’t bothered with how you are then you wouldn’t be asking the question. Being in a long term relationship doesn’t mean your life is set in stone and I am sure there are women that feel the same way because I am one of them. I’ve been with my SO for quite a while but I have never said I was going to be there forever. I know I am rambling but I am tired.

funkdaddy's avatar

I think life is about doing things that make you happy, sometimes that’s looking for immediate joy and sometimes it’s about something further down the road.

If you’re happy with the way things are and you’re successfully filling your life with other things, there’s no duty on your part to be in a relationship. Do what works for you, forcing yourself into another role isn’t going to work out in the end anyway. As long as you stay truthful with those around you, you’re not hurting anyone.

If the roles of husband and father aren’t for you, and you’re ok with that, go for it. I think it’s much better than “giving it a shot” and figuring out 10 years in that you’ve made a mistake.

Tantigirl's avatar

I believe that it is entirely possible to be alone your whole life without it being a bad thing. I also do think that there are people who are this way who are fine with it. There is a difference between being alone, and being lonely. Ask yourself this question: Am I lonely when I am alone? I think that if your answer is no, you are not lonely when you’re alone, then yes, you are one of those people who are fine with it.

Another thing to consider though. If you are in a relationship with someone, and you are feeling tied down, then you aren’t with the right person. When you are with the right person, and you love that person and want to be with them, you won’t feel as though you are tied down, it will feel right. I don’t agree that it is a character flaw, I see it as not having found a person who keeps your interest. This is part of who you are, thats all you can be.

elchoopanebre's avatar


I’ve been in plenty of relationships and after the infatuation stage ends, relationships are boring.

Also, it wasn’t primarily talking about the job I’ll do, I was talking about the life I’ll live.

And finally, couldn’t I have great family and friends to be there for me to support me even if I’m not in a romantic relationship with anyone?

Thanks for your answers, everyone.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

My nephew is 46 and never married, my neighbor is 56 and never married. Both have full, interesting lives.

Tantigirl's avatar

elchoopanebre – Exactly!! It isn’t as though you don’t and won’t have anybody in your life at all, it is that the romantic thing doesn’t work for you. My Uncle is like that, he has had girlfriends, it is just that nobody really took his fancy. He liked them well enough, it was just that they weren’t someone that he had romantic feelings for, for very long. Family and friends are all he has ever really needed, and all he has realized he ever wants.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

One of my mom’s very good friends is like this too; she lives on her own, follows her own interests, spends her time and money on herself and her friends and family, and is perfectly content doing so. She’s very happy like this; some people just are. As long as you’re not looking for something else, I think being alone is a perfectly acceptable thing. If it’s what you want, do it. I would say “get it, girl,” but you’re not a girl. “Get it, boy” just doesn’t sound right. Sorry.

shadling21's avatar

I’m right there with you.

Don’t deny yourself a serious relationship if one comes your way, but go with the flow. If you feel happy alone, then that’s cool. Do what feels right.

And DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome).

steve6's avatar

@shadling, Is DFTBA on the list? Or did you just make that up?

Trustinglife's avatar

Of course it’s ok to not want to get married, or to not be that into relationships. You’ve gotten a lot of affirmation for that above.

I just wonder what you really want. What do you really want?

If you do want intimacy, now or eventually, you’ll need to find a way to dive deeper than the tendency toward distraction. The next cool thing can be very seductive. Meeting someone you’re absolutely fascinated with helps. But even that runs out eventually. You’ll need to dig deeper. IF – and only if – you decide that that is what you want. (I wonder if this fits for you.)

dynamicduo's avatar

Life your live the way you want to. Don’t care what anyone else thinks of your choices. It’s more than fine to be alone if you really do enjoy it. And yes, you always have your family and friends there for support.

wundayatta's avatar

Does the fact that you asked this question indicate some real uncertainty about whether you really are the type to remain single?

steelmarket's avatar

Asking this question of yourself is a very good thing. Better to discover this truth through self-examination than through failed relationships.

elchoopanebre's avatar


To a certain extent-yes. But for the most part I wanted to know how common it was and if other Flutherers are like this or know people like this. I also wanted to open up a discussion about it just for discussion purposes to see what would come of it.

wundayatta's avatar

I guess I think that when someone isn’t finding close relationships, there’s history involved as well as preference. I believe that intimate relationships are the primary problem of life (which is why I think it is so counter-productive for Catholic priests to be forbidden intimate relationships—it means they have no experience to base their advice to couples on). So I advocate people working on trying to overcome obstacles to being in such relationships.

However, I also think that it is important that a portion of the population remain single. They support society in other ways, and do a lot of the things that people in relationships – and especially who are parents – can’t do.

So, in the end, if it is a choice, I think it is an honorable and important one. If it is the result of history and psychology, I urge people to work on the issues standing between them and what they really want. Don’t resign yourself to the best of a bad hand. Be this way if it truly is your preference.

Judi's avatar

It’s OK to be single. I believe some people were meant to be single. It’s not a bad thing, just different.

cwilbur's avatar

There are lifelong bachelors all over the place. If it works for you, go for it.

shadling21's avatar

@steve- I didn’t make up DFTBA. These guys did, and they never forget to be awesome.

maybe_KB's avatar

The hardest thing in life is
making life the hardest thing.

sig's avatar

I heard a report (on NPR, of course) about women over the age of 100. Some ridiculously overwhelming amount – I want to say it was 80% – had never been married. I think that says something right there.

I think you should follow your heart, even if that means following it out the door. There’s nothing wrong with you.

susanc's avatar

Um, eicho, you did include “loneliness” and “isolation” in your topics. If you hadn’t, I’d say something all supportive and/or un-position-taking. But…. instead, like a good shrink (which I’m not), let me just say, “Tell me about those two words.”

Jack79's avatar

As long as you’re happy with it, it’s fine. I had a cousin who was exactly like that. Then a couple of years ago he decided to get married just before turning 60. Of course he found a divorcee almost his own age, and they’re fairly good together, especially now that he retired. They keep each other company.

It’s all fine to just date your whole life, especially if you’re a man, but sooner or later you’ll be too old for that, and even if it’s not at 30, it will be at 70, and nobody should die alone.

kevinhardy's avatar

It seems like the best thing for some people

MissAnthrope's avatar

I say do whatever makes you happiest and most satisfied and forget what other people think about it. Some people can be quite happy on their own and don’t really have a need for romantic relationships. I have spent more of my life single than not, and I can be quite content just doing my own thing. There’s a lot of freedom in it, and it’s very nice.

However, when I’m single for long periods, I do get lonely sometimes and a part of me longs for a soul-union with someone, and being in a place where I’m ruminating on not having it makes me sad. So I’ve learned that I’m very independent, self-sufficient, and enjoy not having anyone to answer to but myself… but I don’t want that forever. When I think about being 50, 60, 70, etc., I don’t want to be alone.

You may find your thoughts in this area change over the years (and it is kind of amazing how the settling-down thoughts really do kick in toward the end of your 20’s), or you could be a happy bachelor at the age of 80. It’s whatever you need to feel centered, whole, and satisfied.

Lastly, you also may end up crossing paths with someone that amazes you so much all these previous views just don’t apply anymore. So I definitely don’t recommend closing yourself off to the possibility.. just follow your heart and see where life takes you. :)

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