Better Alone. Or Not.

I heard a wife say this recently. That she would be better off alone. I used to think it, but never dared say it aloud. I used to think that it would be better to be alone than to be in an empty marriage. In my empty marriage. To have the wrappings of a partnership and the title of a partnership yet no workings of a partnership. I didn’t permit myself to think that often, but that loneliness would press its way into my awareness sometimes, and be almost overwhelming before I could squish it back down to its hiding place in my soul.

I used to say that if anything happened to HUSBAND, I would not remarry. I didn’t say that because ours was a love that couldn’t be matched – rather because I felt I’d given him the best of me, all of me, for most of my adult life and I would be better just taking care of me. That I would likely get some funky amazing old place in a funky amazing old part of town and live there with lots of books and more than one cat and I would be happy. That I would know I was alone and not be pretending to be able to depend on someone else who wasn’t really available and that had to be better than an empty marriage.


I was alone in the midst of my marriage. It was so odd…being in the same room with another yet so utterly alone. I could see HUSBAND there in the house, and we would talk when needed. We functioned in this well-oiled machine of knowing our designated roles and doing them well, taking care not to tread into each other’s realm of responsibility, or dig too deep into each other’s realm of the heart. And I was so very lonely.

I knew that I would gather the laundry and make sure it was in the washer and then the dryer and then folded and then in each respective person’s room. He knew he would make sure the cars got oil changes and had the right air pressure in the tires and got washed and cleaned out. I knew that I would pay the bills and determine where to rob peter to pay paul as HUSBAND walked by the office on his way outside where he knew he would trim the bushes and rearrange things in the garage to accommodate the current sports paraphernalia of our kids’ lives.

We were good at living well in our lanes and making sure they never intersected. Even when we dressed up and went out, or headed to church or on vacation, we stayed in our lanes. We could smile broadly and stand together with HUSBAND’s hand lightly on the small of my back. We could laugh at people’s jokes and engage in lively conversation. But I was still alone. HUSBAND could not read my glance from across the room, or tune into the subtle nuances of a conversation and support me with his words or actions. We got back in the car or on the plane and it was if there was a wall between us buffered only by our mutual love and care for our beautiful babies.

lonely6 pretend ok

Alone. Lonely. My plight in marriage for much of it, and as I looked around then, and even now, the reality for many, if not most, marriages. It was, after all, what marriage was and lonely as I was, it was good(ish). Until somedays it wasn’t so good, but then I thought really, it was because I just expected too much because, after all, we make our own happiness.

A jumble of loneliness and confusion.

When HUSBAND’s serial cheating and porn addiction came to the surface, I remembered being alone all those years. It weighed heavily on my heart and mind and decisions about whether to stay. I was so angry that I’d been used to give him a home and a family and he’d not only been unfaithful, but he’d allowed me to be so completely alone throughout the journey. There seemed to be nothing to salvage, no reason at all to consider staying married. I’d been betrayed by his actions sexually and abandoned by his responses emotionally.


And I was right. There was no way or no reason to stay in that marriage. He got it. It was like something turned on deep in his being and he got it. He began to awaken as a person and as he moved into recovery he began to awaken in his capacity to care, to empathize, to love.

Now I know it is not better to be alone. Now I know that I was wired to be cherished and to cherish. To be cared for and care. To be loved and love. It is a vital part of my being that I had turned off but that’s just it…it is crucial and to deny that part of me is to cut off part of my humanity.

I don’t want to be alone. And I won’t ever be lonely in marriage again. Lonely together is not marriage, not the way it can be and should be. Lonely in marriage is soul crushing and body killing and mind jamming.  So when HUSBAND walked in our bedroom a couple night’s ago and said, “Please know that I don’t want to be on life support, should something happen…we’ve never really talked about that before…” I realized that if he left me now, I would miss him. I don’t want to live in that funky old house in the funky old neighborhood with a couple cats without him. Then I would be lonely, a different kind of lonely, all over again.



33 thoughts on “Better Alone. Or Not.

    1. Oh Lavender…it would definitely have been better for me to be alone than to stay in my old marriage…I was withering and dying from the inside out. I would not advocate for a person to stay in a relationship like that – NEVER – now that I know what relationships are supposed to be like. But who knew? I didn’t, but I do now. And if things were to drift back or he was to cheat again? Uh…no…

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  1. Not alone but terribly, desperately lonely. Yes. That is exactly how I felt for so, so long. Now that Will is “present” I am still trying to adjust and get used to it. It is actually somewhat uncomfortable at times…his mere “thereness.” It is still a little foreign and I think part of me is very afraid to trust it completely. Time will tell… Thank you for once again speaking to my heart sweet friend. ❤️

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    1. Leighkay – I know what you are saying. I look at my husband now and think “who are you?” It is odd but I would say for the first 26 years of our marriage I loved him more by far. Now I would say that is not the case. There is something so broken in me from his affair. I am still lonely but in a different way then before. It’s more of a sadness with the realization that it took this for him to really appreciate me and our family. I don’t feel at home anywhere yet. Not even in my home. It’s funny us betrayeds all have felt lonely in our marriages at one time. So I go day by day and hope that I can learn to really love and trust him again.

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      1. I can really relate to your reply; it is my situation exactly. Looking in from the outside, people say he is so thoughtful, helpful, and appreciative. But I know he is behaving this way because of guilt…mostly to make himself feel better. If he loves me as deeply as he says he always has, where was all this loving kindness before? (Yeah, those gestures went to someone else) Hard to believe he’s being so genuine and authentic with me, when it only happened after he got caught. It’s a profound sadness in my heart.

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  2. As usual you’ve captured this with just the right words. I’m still waffling between letting it all go and letting him try. But I feel nothing and would feel so weird letting him try. It feels pointless to let him try and not succeed. Ugh.

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  3. My H and I separated in February. He left the house and moved into an apartment for 3 months before doing 2 months inpatient treatment. So I was alone for 5 months. It was strange having the whole house to myself and not having him at home to chat with or just watch TV. I felt terribly lonely at first but eventually I found myself settling into my own routine that was just about me. I was a little less sad. It was actually nice to be able to focus on myself. I learned that if my marriage doesn’t work out I will be just fine alone. I also learned that I was happier alone than I was having a husband who lied to me and treated me like I didn’t matter.

    He’s been home from treatment for 6 weeks and it is nice having him back. He is different and so am I. I will never allow myself to be alone in my marriage again. It is a terrible feeling that, in my book, is much worse than living alone.

    Thank you for this post. Great insight as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow…you have been through alot these last six months. It seems you have found your voice, though…and that is really good. I’m glad you understood what I was saying, and that you won’t ever be alone in your marriage again. Bravo for YOU!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to write a fitness blog on word press. When I set up my website I moved my blog there and wrote for about a year or so. But I’ve not written in a while. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get back to it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lonely is also sticking with the marriage and never being able to let your guard down, for fear it will happen again. Adultery doesn’t just wound, it leaves devastating scars…….Great writing SS.

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  5. Your posts always speak exactly how I feel! This one especially! I’m always saying I’ll be the little old mystery lady in town that no one knows anything about. My kids laugh and say I could never be that little lady, I’m too rowdy! After Dday, the only option I saw was dying. I just didn’t know how I could face each day. While H was sooo sorry and he didn’t mean to hurt me, he couldn’t undo what he had done. Honestly, 2 years and 4 months later, I still don’t know how I make it through each day.

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    1. It is a pain like no other. I had no idea…no idea. I remember watching shows that made the betrayed wife appear to be so minimal, so deserving of betrayal almost…and the OW was glamorized. I watched them, I didn’t even know how incredibly wrong they were…from beginning to end. I watched the story of my life with mixed up dialogue and wrong responses that weren’t really mine – or yours – and rooted for love. Oh…if I only could have understood. I’m so sorry for your pain, and for your knowing to do nothing but die. And I get it. But here you are…2 years and 4 months later…writing…feeling…you, you are brave and strong and amazing. How incredible that you have been pierced and sliced and yet, are still hoping for care and healing and love. Wow…thank you for posting. Thank you for being brave. Please come back, and please see yourself as I see you. Such big hugs…


  6. I think it’s the worst feeling ever to feel alone when you’re with someone. I remember those days of missing the person who shared in everything with me….his body was still there, but with a missing soul. I think about it every day. You certainly view The Bridges of Madison County in a completely different way.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think this is why I couldn’t stay. See, I had all that connection that you craved. We were entwined. We drove all over those damn lanes! I changed oil alongside him. He folded laundry, alongside me. We laughed and fell into each other. Pretty much every day. And then he betrayed me. I don’t ever want that again. To feel so loved and in love. And still be so easily betrayed. If I could have my old relationship back, without the agony of betrayal, yep. But you can’t go back. And I have been betrayed. So I now kind of understand how people who were in unhappy marriages stay, when both parties make the commitment to love better. Well done you two. Keep it up. Forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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