Ask Wendy

I Want to Fall in Love AND I Want to be Alone. Is That Weird?

Friday, August 7, 2020
Hey Wendy,

I find dating to be a total waste of time. Yet, I still dream of finding love someday. Part of me wants to find my soulmate, get married, have kids, and be with them for the rest of my life. Another part of me wants to isolate and focus on my own passions. I want to structure my life the way I want it to be and become a master at self-love. There doesn’t seem to be an in between for me. Is it weird that I feel this way?

Chris C.

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Hey Chris,

Not weird. You’re a complex human (like the rest of us) with conflicting desires. And… if you really, really want, you could have it all, sans the kids. (Kids are kinda antithetical to extended alone time.)

But yeah, serenity, peace, stillness, alone time: it’s all amazing. Engaging and entangling your life with others you love and who count on you is also amazing.

Here’s some homework to help you work out what your true needs and desires are, and under what circumstances are you willing to bend those needs and desires. Since one desire literally cancels out the other in some cases (e.g. kids), what’s most important to you?

Take some of that alone time you love and navel-gaze long enough to come up with satisfying answers to these next questions:

  • What will it take for me to experience fulfillment?
  • If I choose to be alone over partnership, will I feel underutilized as a person?
  • If I choose to not have children, will I feel underutilized as a person?
  • If I choose to live alone, how will I structure my life so I’m not too isolated and lonely?

And as you’re considering mastering self-love, here’s a tough question to answer: Is there some wound you haven’t healed from that drives you to want to master self-love? If yes, that may be something you can purposefully identify and work on through therapy, self-reflection, etc. versus taking a lifetime.

There’s no one-size-fits-all right answer here. We all have different paths, and children and relationships aren’t for everyone. There’s a ton of people who are in them and/or who’ve had them who would have really been much better off soloing this journey.

Next up, I want to talk about this whole “soulmate” thing. While it’s totally possible for you to find an amazing match—someone who gives you what your heart, soul, and intellect need—I’d like you to consider that there’s no fairytale ending here. No soulmate, no “The One,” no fade to black as the music swells. This is false news. And while it might sound like I’m telling you there’s no Santa Claus, learning the truth about this is actually a good thing. Because the fairytale story is damaging. And limiting. And makes you feel like there’s a scarcity of good humans in the world. Like finding that perfect one is impossible (because it is, perfection-wise).

What if, instead, there’s a million people who could make a million different matches with you. Some amazing, some awful. Some a great fit in some ways, and others, exactly what you need. Maybe you have hundreds of soulmates out there!

I’ve had dozens of soulmates—some of them include my bestie, my chosen family, and my two dogs. When we’re willing to give our love fully and freely to those we care about and who care about us, we can let go of the idea of the “perfect” person for us and instead enjoy each other and all our compatible imperfections.

If you choose to have a partner but no children, you could still have all the alone time and autonomy you want. You just need to find the person who matches you in this area. And hey, while it’s not for everyone, there are a ton of people out there who would be a resounding “YES” to an unconventional life of living in a side-by-side duplex.

If you choose to not limit yourself to the fairytale and you’re willing to consider your needs first, even if that means thinking outside the box, life might just be better than you could have ever imagined. Good luck out there!

To submit a relationship, dating or sex question, email Wendy@WendySpeaks.com — Subject line: Ask Wendy Column

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