Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Whats it really like living alon

(162 Posts)
CHEELU Sun 09-Dec-12 23:19:49

I just walked down my road and because its dark you can see inside peoples houses and I saw our neighbor who is around 70 sitting in her living room on her own watching TV and I felt for her and wondered what its like to live on your own. I have always thought that I would be ok and that there would be many benefits but am really interested to hear what you all think.

london Sun 09-Dec-12 23:27:19

cheelu i dont like nights on my own .but it,s some think that has to be done x

Sel Sun 09-Dec-12 23:39:01

Good to think you can find a bit of virtual company on Gransnet london smile

annodomini Sun 09-Dec-12 23:48:40

I have got used to living on my own. I like my own company and rarely feel lonely except when I've been to visit the family or they've been to see me. Then I miss them. I would like to live closer to them so that we could do things (theatre, cinema and so on) together, especially now that the children are bigger.

Greatnan Mon 10-Dec-12 00:48:40

I love living alone. I can please myself about when and what I eat, what I watch on TV, what time I sleep, where I go on holiday. Some people assume that because they would not like it themselves, , everyone who lives alone must be lonely.
In fact, because there is still a difference in life expectancy between the sexes, many women will end up living alone.

vampirequeen Mon 10-Dec-12 06:00:49

I enjoyed living alone except maybe on the odd few dark winter days when night seemed to last for 24 hours. I wasn't sure how I would take to it as I'd never lived alone prior to leaving my ex but it was liberating. Like Greatnan I enjoyed the freedom to do whatever I wanted.

I found that even though I like being with people I also quite enjoyed my own company.

Barrow Mon 10-Dec-12 09:27:02

I have been on my own for over a year now, there are times when I desperately miss my DH, but I like to think he is still with me (and I still talk to him every day!).

Being alone doesn't mean you are lonely. I keep busy and I see friends and family frequently. The worse time for me is if I have been out in the evening and coming home to a dark empty house

Movedalot Mon 10-Dec-12 09:58:22

I am from a large family so have always had others around me and therefore enjoy my own company when I get it but it may well be different if I were permanently alone. I don't think we can really anticipate what such a life change would be like before the event.

I think I would be busy like Barrow but know I would miss DH so much as we are such good friends and get on so well most of the time.

Please don't assume that living with someone always means you can't do what you like when you like. I think we mostly do just that as we have a lot we share and those things we don't we each still do but not together. Over the years we have developed so many shared interests that what one of us wants to do is usually what the other wants too.

Gally Mon 10-Dec-12 09:58:26

I've been on my own for 10 months. I hate the late afternoons, especially when it's dark and I hate the weekends if I haven't got anything planned and everyone else seems to be busy doing family things.I've never lived totally on my own - ever and I am a gregarious type who needs company. Having said that, I have only spent a maximum of 5 weeks at a time on my own as I visit family and friends a lot, they come here, I've been to Australia for 9 weeks and I go on little jaunts with a friend, who is in a similar situation. Next year after I return from Australia in early April, I am determined to stay here for as long as possible and carve out a 'new' life for myself. I think during the first year you have to play it by ear and do just what comes naturally, but eventually life has to go on and I am too young to become 'old' before my time. It has certainly put a new perspective on things for me and I now feel empathy for those who are alone and lonely, not from their own choice.
Barrow I too hate that coming home to a dark (although I usually leave a lot of lights on!) empty house with nobody to greet me and to listen to my news. Sometimes I just can't believe I am me when I think about what I was doing this time last year. It most definitely was life-changing.

Movedalot Mon 10-Dec-12 10:01:12

Gally you sound like a really positive minded person who is making her journey in a logical and reasoned way. I hope to be like you if I am in the same situation. Good for you. flowers

Ella46 Mon 10-Dec-12 10:01:13

I've been on my own for most of the last 20 years, and I love the freedom.
I've lots of friends, but I must admit that sometimes I would like a man to take me somewhere, as in 'being escorted, driven and looked after', instead of going out with a girlfriend,and doing the parking, booking a table or tickets etc. ourselves.

Just occasionally!

whenim64 Mon 10-Dec-12 10:26:49

I suppose it depends on whether you have chosen to live on your own. I love living on my own. My little cottage is my sanctuary, where I can do as I like. I have my lovely dog for companionship if I need it, and my four children and all my grandchildren live within a radius of 20 miles from me. I have friends who visit and I can come and go as I please. I never feel lonely.

When sharing my enjoyment of living alone with my BiL, who has just become a widower, he said 'ah yes, but I haven't chosen to lose my wife, and it's going to take me some time to get accustomed to this new way of living.'

I can remember what loneliness felt like - that was when I was married to a mean, selfish man.

tanith Mon 10-Dec-12 10:29:34

I have an elderly exmil who I care for at a distance, she lives alone and only has me as her friend in the world but I don't live close so 95% of her time is spent totally alone, she only speaks to others if she manages to toddle over the road to get some milk from the shop. She tells me sometimes she spends whole weeks without speaking to anyone but me or my daughter on the phone. She copes and is much better in the Summer when she can potter in her garden but the Winter she gets terribly depressed and down, she is very stubborn and won't entertain anything that might get her out such as local clubs or such.. I feel sad for her and she has told me she wishes she didn't wake up some mornings... her husband died 9yrs ago her son(my ex) this year and she has been estranged from her only daughter for 6yrs.. a terribly sad end to her life is how she sees it..

Greatnan Mon 10-Dec-12 11:07:53

When.....I was very lonely when I was married because I could not share my real interests with my husband. If I wanted to listen to a lecture on the radio, I was told I was being 'pretentious'.
Those of you who have been widowed after years of happy marriage will naturally find it difficult to adjust and will miss your OH for the rest of your life. It is different for those of us who have chosen to remain single.
I used to take care of all the travel/holiday arrangements and all the family finance anyway and I am used to organising things for my sister, so I don't feel the need of a partner in any way.
I usually go several days without speaking to anybody and then it it usually in a phone call to my daughter in NZ, my sister in England, and my oldest grand-daughter. I do chat in French to people I meet casually here, the ladies in the Mairie or Post Office, the caretaker of the flats, and so on. I don't know any English-speaking people in the area. It doesn't bother me - I can always go on one of my forums and have a good discussion, share a joke or two, offer some sympathy where needed - with the added bonus that I can just log off when my favourite TV/radio programmes are due!

messenger Mon 10-Dec-12 11:36:26

Message deleted by Gransnetfor breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Greatnan Mon 10-Dec-12 11:43:06

Messenger - advertising on this site has to be paid for!

jeni Mon 10-Dec-12 12:25:30

I still after almost 10 years hate coming home to a dark empty house.
I've tried leaving lights on, but my energy conscious cleaner switches them off again!

CHEELU Mon 10-Dec-12 12:35:30

Well that was quite educational I have learn't a lot. Basically, obviously it makes a difference if it has been of your own making--so if you have managed to get away from a nasty husband then living alone is APPRECIATED but if it was sprung on you then its a different story.

Whenim64 yours is the attitude that I hope that I could have, happy with what I had-- GALLY your reasoning was brilliant, play it by ear and then get a life for yourself.

Regarding coming home at the end of an evening and it feeling horrible,,, we could think how lucky that we have a warm and cosy house to come back to, because lets face it there are many people especially in London that live on the street in the freezing weather, alot of young people that have been forced out of their home for one reason or another,

The thing here to win this battle of being alone, I think could be is to appreciate all the good things that we have and not dwell on the bad. Thank you for all your comments x x

dorsetpennt Mon 10-Dec-12 12:51:37

I've been divorced since 1986 so brought my children up alone from when they were still very young. I chose not to add to their confusion by having another partner/husband. Now at 68 years old that bird has flown.
However, I don't mind being on my own. I have a loving family and good friends and plenty of interests, also I'm still working. So I'm alone but not lonely. I have a dear little cat who is great company. Did have dogs. When my darling black lab died in 2005 I found it so devastating that I will never have another dog. I also have 2 little GDs and go up to stay with them every other month, it's easy to get someone to feed your cat but it is quite another thing to expect them to feed your dog.
I know someone who feels very sorry for me - but she is so unhappy with her marriage I feel sorry for the both of them.

Greatnan Mon 10-Dec-12 14:26:13

When I got out of my boring marriage, I found the reaction from women friends was quite often envy! They said 'It's all right for you, you have a good career, but I wouldn't know what to do'.
I can't think of many things that are worse than coming home to somebody with whom you no longer have anything in common - my little flat seems to welcome me!

Barrow Mon 10-Dec-12 15:54:47

There is, of course, a big difference between choosing to live alone and those of us who have lost much loved husbands. I had over 40 years of very happy marriage, we each had our own interests and in the evenings would chatter away over dinner discussing what we had done during the day - I do miss those talks.

I did find it difficult initially getting out and about and if it hadn't been for two of my sister in laws I can see I could have become something of a hermit, but they just wouldn't let me sit and mope, friends too were a great support.

I have since widened my circle of friends and, as I said previously, like to keep busy. Living alone isn't something I chose or expected but, although I still miss my DH very much I now have to look on my life as entering a new phase.

CHEELU Mon 10-Dec-12 16:21:19

dorsetpennt the fact that you chose not to confuse your children further warms my heart it truly does It is a decision that I would take and have never met a person that shares that opinion with me.... Greatnan I know what you mean because I had a bad time with my husband at one point and did feel that I would rather be alone, we did weather the storm and are still together but I have totally been there and sometimes it has to be done for the sake of everyone's sanity. You were un happy and did something about it!!! Not everyone has the guts so well done to you.

To close,, just watched a programme on TV, a lady had recently lost her husband and did not want to get rid of all the stuff that they had together but eventually she was persuaded to do that and when she was asked how she finally got the courage to do it ,she said something very powerful, she said
I let go... letting go is really good I think, because not letting go is miserable.

crimson Mon 10-Dec-12 16:29:29

I always thought I'd be fine on my own until my marriage ended, but that coincided with the children leaving home as well so I went from one extreme to the other. Always an occasional smoker [by that I mean not smoking for months sometimes] I found myself smoking in the evening; the cigarettes were my friends. What brought it home to me one night was when my son had a problem at uni and phoned me; I phoned his dad who said he couldn't do anything because 'they' were just about to go out. The word 'they' compounded my solitude in a way that nothing else had. I'd always gone places and done things on my own as we didn't have shared interests, but somehow I did that with the knowledge that I wasn't completely on my own; when I was I felt that everyone around me seemed to be with other people. It was quite a learning curve. Now I'm in a relationship that doesn't give me the 'me time' that I need, and that's causing problems. It's all about balance, I guess. However, since I had the internet I never feel really alone; a few years ago I had a hoax phone call that really upset me, but someone on a racing forum I go on was still awake and they talked me through it. I now often leave the computer on at night when I'm on my own.

CHEELU Mon 10-Dec-12 16:51:06

Oh crimson that's a bit of a sad story but you have children, thats a good thing right, and the fact that your x husband said that he had no time to help his son tells me that maybe, just maybe he wasn't as kind and caring as he could have been, you say the relationship you have now does not give you the time you need, please value yourself crimson and get the relationship that you deserve and settle for nothing less x

FlicketyB Mon 10-Dec-12 16:54:26

I suspect that everyone falls into one category or the other, we enjoy our own company and can live alone or we prefer to have company.

DD decided very early that she preferred to live alone, and has done so very happily for over 15 years. She is not lonely, has plenty of friends and has just returned from several days away with one of them. On her own in the house she is always busy doing diy, gardening or craft work.

I am very like daughter and could live very happily on my own and keep similarly occupied. DH's career involved a lot of world wide travel, occasionally he was a way for several months at a time and I lived life quite happily on my own when he was away. Now he has (more or less) retired I am finding it really difficult having somebody around all the time. He has various interests he follows that take him out of the house for an afternoon or evening, several times a week and has plenty of things he enjoys doing on his own at home but there are times when I long desperately for him to go away for a week or two, not because we are not happy together and enjoy each othrs company but because I really need longish periods of solitude.