The nights are tricky

My married friends complain about the downsides of living with their partners.

I don’t have to put up with my husband not doing his fair share of the housework (actually, we were both equally crap at that), not being involved enough as a parent (erm, I was the one being caned for not doing enough craft with the kids), leaving his fingernail clippings piled on the arm of the sofa (geez that used to get on my goat) and hogging the bed covers (that wasn’t a problem either, he was a lizard shivering under the doona while I constantly had a bare leg sticking out to cool down). But you get the idea. Living with someone long-term can be a drag.

Not only do I not have to put up with someone farting in bed (OK, that was me too), I also get three child-free nights a week to live it up.

Well, technically.

At almost-50, I generally just go for night walks, look at Facebook or watch tellie.

Over the school holidays I had the kids even less than usual because I was working and my ex is retrenched, so it made more sense for them to hang with him.

That sounds blissful, and it WAS relaxing not having to worry about what to cook for dinner or who to race up to band rehearsal at 7.30am.

It was also lovely on Saturday – after the kids headed to Fingal Beach to become part of a human whale* – to meander up to Myer and go shopping for a few hours with no one whining “I’m boooooored, can we GO now?”

I’ve been a bit broke-ish for a long time, but I’m finally (hopefully) getting back on track, so I bought myself a new set of Bonds gym clothes that were 40% off the already marked-down price. BARGAIN! And I bought myself a new Leona Edmiston dress for work so everyone at the network breakfasts doesn’t have to see me in the same frock AGAIN. It was down to $61. BARGAIN! And I bought myself two new bras because there was a 50% sale from 9am-1pm and I’m sick of the saggy straps on my old ones constantly sliding off my shoulders.

It felt gooooooood. I was a bit giddy afterwards from all the excitement, then I felt tired when the adrenaline rush subsided and needed to sit down because … old. I pondered buying some Asian stir fry from the food court, but decided I’d spent enough, so I headed home for some week-old lamb and mint pesto pasta from the fridge that didn’t kill me (I hate waste, I blame that on my parents insisting I eat every pea on my plate as a child because of the starving Biafrans).

Then I did the grocery shopping with a double-shot flat white. Love a push ‘n’ sip. Then I took the dogs for a long walk and admired the gorgeous scenery near my house. That was refreshing. Then I watched four episodes of the fourth season of Rake and gazed with dilated pupils at that sexy Richard Roxburgh creature. Mmmmmmmmm.

Then I turned off the TV, chucked the dogs outside for a wee, turned the lights off and went to bed.

I didn’t like that part at all.

The house was dark and silent. There were no children to kiss and cuddle goodnight. I kissed and cuddled the dogs, but that’s not quite the same. I lay in my bed in my dark, silent house and felt very alone.

It’s  like that every night the kids are with their dad. Very alone.

I wake up in the mornings in my silent house and feel very alone again as I drift around talking to the dogs and packing my lunch for work. I’d choose taking kids to band rehearsal over the silence in a heartbeat.

I know some people like their own company and the peace and quiet of it. Not me – I like knowing someone will wander out of their bedroom in the morning and give me a cuddle.

I don’t think I could hack no one doing that long term.

Although I think it’s a little extreme that a study in the journal Science showed that people would rather give themselves electric shocks than be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes**.

It’s not my thoughts that are the problem, well, aside from the negative ones, they’re a pain. I love a good thinking/planning/dreaming session. My head is a very busy, productive place.

It’s the going to bed – and waking up – in an empty house that’s blah.

Song of the day: The Cure “Let’s go to bed”

* The Port Stephens community broke its own world record on Saturday for the largest ‘Human Whale’, with more than 1000 locals and holiday-makers joining in the formation of a 150m Humpback on the white sands of Fingal Beach. A community tradition since 2011, click here to see a video of the latest record-breaker.

** Seriously, participants in 11 studies typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. They preferred to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.





2 thoughts on “The nights are tricky

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  1. I’m 49 and always been single and lived alone for most of my adult life. My friends envy the fact I can having long baths during which I read but in reality I do that as I have nothing else to do.

    They tell me I’m lucky I’m not grappling with kids’ bedtimes and dinners or partners grumpy at the end of the day but I would have much preferred the opportunity to yearn for free time than wish I had someone to hug at night or in the morning, or even talk to about my day.

    1. You are right – I’m lucky that I have the kids around four days a week. (I don’t think it’s very thoughtful of them to tell you how lucky you are, it’s funny how lacking in insight humans can be sometimes.)

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